Absolutely. In fact, if you don’t do any other thing for them, getting them to laugh; I mean really laugh is good medicine.
If you’ve been unemployed, you know first-hand that one of the most troubling things is that people tend to ignore someone who is out of work, or they pity them and talk very seriously, careful not to upset them by being jovial and light. If you’ve never been unemployed when you really needed or wanted a job, you’re lucky, and you’ll have to trust me on this one.
Think about it…Whether you have a job or not, would you like to be around people who talk very seriously ALL the time? People who furrow their brows, grimace and look uncomfortable with us but then move on to chat with other people and are light, natural and happy? I think it is fairly safe to say that you’d hope that others would act the same with us that they do with others.
And what it boils down to is that unemployed people want others to treat them normally. Unemployment can definitely be upsetting, stressful and cause one to be anxious. A little levity would therefore be welcomed. Finding the right balance as with all things is the key, as well as knowing what to joke and laugh about. Joking about one’s unemployment status is obviously one topic that is taboo. That’s one area that’s probably very raw and to do so would be insensitive.
However, one of the nicest things you might do is offer to treat your friend to a comedy movie. Movies for starters allow people to escape for a couple of hours, and the laughs and humour will be a healthy exercise. And it is okay to laugh if you are the unemployed person. It’s good for you! And if you want to keep your friends and family close during a time when you need their support more than ever, being dead serious and brooding isn’t going to help.
You should I hope understand that I have sympathy and empathy for someone who is out of work. I’ve been out of a job in the past, and it’s not a pleasant experience when you really want to contribute and be gainfully employed. I remember one time when I was out of work that I caught myself laughing, smiling, and feeling blissfully happy, although what it was that had me feeling that way escapes me. It wasn’t that moment that I really recall as much as it was the moment shortly after though where I remembered I was out of work and reminded myself of that and felt I shouldn’t be happy and reverted back to the stress with a serious face. It’s as if I was saying, “I’m out of work, I shouldn’t be happy and laughing or people wont’ think I’m taking this job search seriously.”
I now look at things differently. Not being able to find a job when you want one is a bad thing. But bad things and bad times do generally pass; pass quickly or pass slowly, but time usually does mean they pass eventually. Your employment status and you as a person are not one and the same. While we do often define people by what they do for a living, employment is but one aspect of who we are.
So you may be a father, mother, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, daughter, son, sister, brother, friend, athlete, hobbyist, gardener, fisherman, outdoors person, and a myriad of other labels might be attached to you. Unemployed isn’t entirely who you are. So don’t let this status rule and define you entirely. Allowing one aspect of who you are to take over all other roles you have to play is decidedly unhealthy. And what does that look like? Well it’s like a father stops parenting for example, and sits off alone, being irked by his children having fun, as if somehow they are rubbing their dad’s unhappiness in his face. They are of course, just being children.
In fact, stressful times can be helpful. If you are able to dig deeper, work harder to find work, treat your job search with your full attention and still do your best to find time to parent well, stay connected to your friends, and do the things in your life that do bring you joy, other’s will remark on your resolve and your ability to work through your unemployment period with such a great attitude. Later when you are working again, they may tell you how impressed they have been with how you handled things overall.
And how you handle pressurized situations when you are under stress could very well be the basis for a wonderful answer in an interview for a job. “Tell me about a time when you’ve been under pressure and had to work through a problem. Tell me the steps you took to resolve that situation.” To answer this question, you COULD relate how you found yourself out of a job, had your ups and downs, but resolved to be successful. How you updated your resume, networked and built your support circle, did some upgrading by taking a course, read some job search help books, phoned your references, acted on leads, set up meetings, and practiced your interview skills, and that’s brought you to the interview right now where you are selling yourself to your very best.
And you know